Elon Musk defends Twitter’s $20 blue tick plan to Stephen King – The Hollywood Reporter
Elon Musk responded to Stephen Kinga horrified reaction to his reported plan to charge all verified users for their blue tick — and in the process, confirmed that a surprising and controversial idea is in the works.
King went viral on Monday his reaction to a report that Musk wanted to charge verified users a whopping $20 a month to keep their ticker status. “$20 a month to keep my blue check?” King tweeted to his 6.9 million followers. “Fuck it, they should pay me. If that gets established, I’m gone like Enron.” When a reader told King he could afford the fee, the bestselling author replied, “It’s not about the money, it’s about the principle of the thing.”
FiveThirtyEight political guru Nate Silver wrote similarly to his 3.5 million followers: “I’m probably the perfect target for this, use Twitter a ton, I can afford $20 a month, not particularly against Elon, but my reaction is that I’ve created a ton of valuable free content for Twitter over the years and they can be screwed.”
early tuesday, Musk replied to the alarm, replying directly to King: “We’ve got to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
Musk then suggested that further clarity on the matter was yet to come: “I will explain the reasoning in longer form before this is implemented. That’s the only way to defeat bots and trolls.”
Later, Musk appeared to double down on the idea — and its proposed lower price — by framing the fee as populist empowerment: “Twitter’s current lord-and-peasant system of who has or doesn’t have a blue tick is bullshit. Power to the people! Blue for $8 a month.”
Critics have pointed out that verified accounts are not just a free perk for a certain level of users, but a utility that makes the wild west/hellscape social media platform more credible. Blue checks help everyday readers (as well as journalists) determine whether a comment by a purported public figure is actually from that person and not a fan or impersonator. In other words, it is a way of preventing the spread of fake news. TechCrunch called Muskov the idea of a potential “disinformation nightmare”.
“Musk and his cronies see this plan as a way to get people to actually give money on Twitter,” TechCrunch noticed. “But by monetizing a token that currently has value, they will eventually remove all of that existing value.”
According to The Verge, Musk’s plan is to convert the optional $4.99 premium service Twitter Blue — which allows users to edit their tweets — into a mandatory program for those who want to maintain their verified status. Users would have 90 days to subscribe to the new program or lose their blue tick. Musk reportedly told employees assigned to the program overall that they would have to implement the new rules by Nov. 7 or be fired. However, no new program has been officially announced yet.
Previously, Musk tweeted: “The entire verification process is currently being rebuilt.”
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